Government’s Role in the Food Supply

Civil Eats tips us to a new exhibit at the National Archives on the role of the US government in food supply and production, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” As Civil Eats points out, the exhibit glosses over the darker aspects of industrial agriculture and the role of corporate lobbyists in shaping our diet (flavorless example from the exhibit: “The result of mechanical and biological revolutions in agriculture was increased productivity, reduced labor, greater specialization, and lower costs to consumers.”). But there are some pretty interesting visual materials including this one of the USDA food guide from WWII, where amazingly “butter has its own food group”.

Debates over the role of government in food become especially heated when it comes to school lunches. Jamie Oliver has been very vocal about excessive sugar and processing in these meals, and locally the blog Slow Cook took a fascinating, in-depth look at the way food was prepared last year in his daughter’s elementary school:

I was perplexed by the sheer banality of so much processed, canned and sugar-injected food being fed to our children on a daily basis; disappointed that no one seemed to take issue with this sort of food service; chagrined that pizza and Pop Tarts and candied cereals were being served so routinely alongside Mountain Dew masquerading as milk–and all of it here in the nation’s capitol, right outside Michelle Obama’s door. Are these really the lessons we want our kids to learn about food?

One thought on “Government’s Role in the Food Supply

  1. Francis says:

    cool slideshow. will definitely plan to visit the museum exhibit later this summer.i would love to see a related slideshow or tabular history that compares food price histories to food quality histories. price of veggies vs grains, quality of those in terms of …? is the goal to get calories or to get healthy bodies? how do we even measure for healthy bodies?


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